Finding the Return Home

How often do you long for home? This could be the house of your childhood, or, really, any place where you are accepted and loved. A place where others understand you and where you fit in. Whatever this place looks like, whether it exists in a physical location or in your mind’s eye, each of us has a longing for home.

Ever since my mother passed away, I’ve had to redefine this longing. I may be living in the house she made into a home, but it doesn’t have the same feel. Thus, I’ve been working to create a welcoming place to which I can invite people and where I can experience and share a grounded love. But something is always missing in this endeavor: specifically the arms of my mother. Yet, there remains in me a hope that a home, a solid home, still exists.

This hope has be284D26BD00000578-3067012-A_page_in_a_rare_medieval_tome_named_the_Liesborn_Gospel_Book_be-a-85_1430750081229en revived through a new spiritual practice a friend introduced me to – a prayer wheel. Recently, a version of this forgotten prayer tool from the Middle Ages was discovered in a 10th century gospel book from Liesborn, Germany. On the first blank page, someone drew a circle and then filled it with elements to guide praying. Included are petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, the gifts of the Spirit from Isaiah 11, moments in the life of Christ, and the beatitudes from Matthew 5, all arranged in seven spokes with God at the center. (Learn more at http://www.religionnews.com/2015/04/30/no-dice-required-a-medieval-prayer-w
heel-surfaces-but-how-it-was-used-is-anyones-guess/.)

Around this circle the words “The order of the diagram written here teaches the return home” frame the diagram and the prayer. Each day that I’ve prayed using this tool, I’m drawn to the words of home. I place my finger on the cross at the top of the wheel and trace the outer words. By the time I’ve returned to the cross I realize a renewed peace as I begin praying the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Though I may not experience home as I have in the past, I’m recognizing that a different and deeper reality of home is present. I’m moving towards a deeper peace because I’m learning that home is not something I or someone else creates, but is being with God.

As David cries out in Psalm 27

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

Even if I use this tool for less than a minute a day, it is redirecting my thinking. There is something about physically tracing a path as I speak the words. It’s similar to taking a pilgrimage, walking a labyrinth, or making the sign of the cross. As I connect to something tangible, such practices take me out of the sometimes ethereal, otherworldly practices of seeking to dwell in the Lord’s house. But, isn’t this what abiding in Christ should be, since he is fully human, as well as fully God? It makes sense that to abide with him, a person needs to connect with that human, material part – not merely the spiritual. These material practices point the reality of God’s incarnation. They also affirm that the longing for home has a destination.

St. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about this longed-for dwelling as well:

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. (2 Corinthians 5:1-3)

While I continue to re-create a place of home and as I hear the call of home from many other sources, this diagram on a single 8×10 sheet of paper reminds me of the true home. A home in which I don’t need to worry about paying the taxes, repairing cracks in the wall, or finding the right sofa. Even as I fondly remember the home my mother created and seek to create my own version, I realize these can only be glimpses of an eternal home at the heart of God.

It’s a blessing to find home with God, where ever I may find myself – and to be thankful for the experiences that have and continue to point to it.

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Pilgrims Along the Way

IMG_4070While I’m redecorating my home as a pilgrimage way station, I find myself in a comfortable and familiar role – leading the planning and execution of a project at my own pace and in my own way. For now a lot of this work, especially the design, has been a solo endeavor with some great co-laborers to bring the larger projects to fruition.

As the bookcases are filled with books, I sit in this space and imagine the people who will fill the chairs and sofas. I want friends and family to gather for meals, conversations, and creative endeavors. I see much laughter and inspiration as dreams come to fruition in this place. It’s an idealized picture without any problems.

Yet, I know that if real relationships are to flourish, there will be difficult times. Conflicts that erupt in small group meetings over biblical interpretation or understanding of the world. Meals that don’t turn out. People that don’t show up. Misunderstandings over family priorities. Opening my house means opening my life and being vulnerable. With this realization, slowly the ideal pictures fade and fear takes over. In this fear I could easily sink into my safe solitariness and defend it by claiming the need to restore my energy as an introvert.

In journeys of pilgrimage, people come together in places of vulnerability. As we seek to get closer to the deep story that is drawing us on a life journey, the false ones must be stripped away if we are to go any further. Just as Aslan tore the dragon skin from Eustace Scrub in C. S. Lewis’ novel, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we must allow God and the community around us to remove that which is keeping us from a full life.

Now that I’m in the midst of creating a new space, I wonder how to develop not only an environment that is welcoming, but also a character that is open to stripping away the comfortable fear and the pride that keep people at a distance? I won’t be able to control the individuals who enter this place as I do the redecoration – not unless I want to destroy relationships. Though I may not always be comfortable with it, I know that other travelers are an essential part of the journey – and not only in pilgrimage, but also in the life of a Christian. From the beginning, God knew it was not good that Adam was alone. Furthermore, as part of God’s new covenant, we are even called the Body of Christ, together.

51hOom4ewOL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In this time of redesigning not only my basement, but also my life, I’ve stumbled upon the second novel by Sharon Garlough Brown, Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope. The continuation of the story started in Sensible Shoes finds four women, Meg, Hannah, Mara, and Charissa, moving through the crises in their lives as they seek to be more attentive to God through spiritual disciplines and in community. Practicing these disciplines isn’t a secret key to resolve all their family, career, and relationship issues. Neither are these disciplines easy or the community in which they find themselves always comforting.

Yet, in the midst of the messiness of their lives, I felt each woman’s struggle to hold on to hope – not hope in the world, but in Christ. This hope allows each of them to loosen the grip on the false stories in which they have been living. In broken lives, with humble postures, and through faithful community with God and one another, their lives are reborn in the midst of struggle. This is the type of life I long for myself and others to know.

In this story I see possibilities for community. Images of real people practicing prayer, stepping forward in pain, and caring for one another. In short, they are sharing life together.

It’s soon time to think about making invitations to the first group of fellow pilgrims to this way station. What will we do? How will we gather? I want to fill this space with more than a picture-perfect version of community. Maybe we could even begin with this novel as we find a new way together.

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Creating a Pilgrimage Way Station

As part of exploring the pilgrimage path before me, I’ve renewed an enthusiasm for creating my home as a way station. As pilgrims through the ages have needed a place to rest along on their journeys, I dream of my home as being such a place. People may not be wearily walking to Compostela before arriving at my door, but they are on other journeys and need a place for a cool drink of water (or some ice-cream) and a listening ear.

At the same time I want a place that invites me to be attentive to God in the midst of this life journey and a place where others can join – not only to rest on the way, but also to be encouraged and explore their next steps within God’s story.

I imagine that this home will be a way station for reading, writing, thinking, praying, and feasting. A place of safety, but also of challenge. Meeting God and meeting with others is always fraught with the potential for discomfort. Yet in the midst of the discomfort is that abundant life.

In this place I see

  • images of journeys on the walls
  • books of inspiration on the shelves
  • tables for meals with friends and family
  • chairs to gather in conversation
  • desks for writing and dreaming

IMG_3999As I select colors for the walls, consider fabrics for the chairs, wait for bookcases to be installed in the basement and the carpet to be laid, I’m eager to fill the shelves with rows of books and albums of photos. Poetry and prose. Family and travel. I picture how I will set up the furniture with open space for conversation and quiet areas for writing.

In this way station I see my nieces drawing and writing, or students making a meal together. I envision people engaged with God’s Word or discussing the latest bestseller. I imagine a group planning a trip to England or service in the neighborhood. There will be space for laughter and tears.

In all of this we remember that we are living in the now and the not yet, following a merciful Guide as we continue the journey on which we find ourselves.

 

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Mercy Not Sacrifice

Over the past weeks, my days, and I’m sure many of yours, have turned into a litany of tasks. This litany begins in my head, moves to a written form in a small, black planner, and then, eventually, takes shape as action.

As the days have progressed, I’ve lost sight of the reason for this activity. All I can do is look at the next item on the list. Print labels for Christmas cards. It’s checked off. Touch up newly painted walls. Check. I’m completing tasks, yet joy is missing. Are the cards and painting merely tasks I feel I’m supposed to do or do they help me live into a larger story? While a purpose behind these activities is missing, patience for anything outside of my small to-do list is nearly absent.

To counter this dry spell, I’m eager to return, or at least be more aware of, the pilgrim path on which I’m walking. Right now I may be on a path, but I’m not sure why. With this renewed desire, a verse keeps going through my head, though it’s one not usually associated with this time of year. As the Pharisees are criticizing Jesus for hanging out with the tax collectors and sinners, Jesus urges them to learn what this means:

I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Matt 9:13, 12:7)

I’ve undertaken this challenge myself. When I consider the daily litany of tasks, I know I’m in the realm of sacrifice. I’m trying to prove myself to God and to people. I want them to see the sacrifices I make so that they will pat me on the back and even step up to help. Though I may receive some initial profit from this way, I know it’s a desert path. A path that leads back to me even as I claim to be doing for others. Sacrifice alone is a withering, dead end. Furthermore, no amount of sacrifice on my part will come close to what God requires of me – perfection. So what can I do?

Looking through the lens of mercy changes this question. It’s not about what I can do, but what has been done for me. It turns out when I look more closely at my life, I need mercy – and this comes in the Christmas story. The angels mentioned by Luke weren’t singing mournful tunes of the sacrifice God was making for his people by taking on human flesh. No, they were singing joyous anthems resting in God’s mercy.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased. (Luke 2:14)

IMG_3963So as I look at these lists again in the midst of Christmas, I pray that they will become a litany of praise to God for the work He has done and, in this awareness, that I will extend mercy to those around me in both times of brokenness and celebration. Ultimately, I seek a pilgrim path that is continually looking to God to mercifully guide, allowing me to be wrapped in its extravagance, and then living out of that reality no matter the situation, or how long the list.

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Autumnal Memories

IMG_3872Rustling red leaves on the young oak tree remember past dreams. Dreams that my mother had to see this tree take root and grow in the yard, rising above her home’s roof. Dreams of grandchildren and great grandchildren playing beneath it, finding a place of rest and refuge as they runaround in games of tag and hide-and-seek or sit and read a favorite book. An image of a family rooted in the solid ground of faith and one another.

In its first year, some of the leaves and branches withered, almost as if this ground couldn’t support it. The hoped for strength was disappearing. But with some extra fertilizer and a few strategic trims, the tree had the needed nourishment. Finally, the buds opened and leaves again covered the branches late in the spring looking forward to its glorious fall colors

However, the dreams of seeing this tree mature over the decades through my mother’s care disappeared while she passed away last fall as red leaves slowly fell to the ground.

I cry knowing that she’s not sitting in the living room looking out of the window and relishing the red hues as the tree flourishes for a third year. But it’s not only her lost dreams of seeing a majestic oak grow that have me crying, it’s the lives of her children and grand children of which she will not be a physical part. The loss of times that we don’t get to spend with her to be encouraged with her smile and words. The loss of her absolute joy in seeing beauty before her without critique or condemnation. The loss of the stories that won’t be.

Still I see the brilliant red that my mom was looking forward to enjoying every year to welcome autumn’s call, celebrating the year past and the one to come. As I look at the leaves moving in the breeze of this autumn afternoon, I experience my mom’s unadulterated joy.

This tree, though it reminds me of the past, also pulls me into the present, into the heart and hands my mom held open before all of life. I long to fill my days with this posture. To drink in what is before me today. The colors, the conversations, the opportunities. The see through this tree the beauty it brings for today and the hope for tomorrow. It will continue to grow and my mom’s children and grandchildren will continue to live, rooted in the life soil she tilled and nourished for us.

Today red leaves, tomorrow the shade of a full grown oak and the stories of family and friends coming to life out of the lives of those that have gone before. A brilliant showing.

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Walking into Grief’s Emptiness

IMG_3806At the end of the evening of ministry or visiting with friends, I’m eager to get home. When I arrive I turn the key in lock and open the door. All is quiet. Usually a small orange and white cat greets me, with a grey one not far behind. But there is no “How was your day?” along with a readiness to listen. These past months I’ve longed to return home and share my day, my evening, my latest dilemma. However, I find instead an empty space following my mom’s death.

When I encounter these space, I internally cry out that the story can’t end here. I have so much more to share with her and that I want to learn from her. There are so many more places for us to visit and people for her to love.

In a journal I try to record my thoughts and frustrations in this emptiness. Friends and students are also around to listen. But still, who wants to hear endless small, mundane happenings from someone else’s life? A mother wants to hear all these things; at least my mother wanted to hear. It’s been almost a year since I’ve been able to share that the dinner with students went well or that I don’t know how I’m going to make budget. Eleven months since I’ve received her unconditional love and the best hug ever or simply heard that she was listening without being overwhelmed with well-meaning advice.

As the tears flow more readily now, I yearn to get past this season grief. To step into places that are filled instead of empty. Yet, I’m learning that this time is a gift. I’m remembering and holding on to the love of both my mother and father more fully as I recognize the emptiness in my life carved out from their physical absence. I’m also recognizing the solid foundation they left for me. A foundation of faith, education, and love that continues to support me today.

Moreover, during these times I’m more aware of the people in my life and around the world facing their own spaces of emptiness. Holding out empty hands in sorrow I know I am not alone and can maybe help fill the emptiness of others – not with easy solutions, but with companion tears. During such times as these, our eyes don’t have to be dry. In fact, God himself is intimately acquainted with grief in seeing and experiencing emptiness.

He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
– Isaiah 53:3

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[e] in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
-John 11:33-35

In this new season of grief it’s not time to seek comfort in just any promise of fullness, but to look into the emptiness and reach out. The house remains quiet when I enter. Are there clear answers? A response to the quiet emptiness of home? Not one that I’m hearing now. And I don’t know what it should look like. What I do know is that I can’t manufacture an answer that will satisfy – either for myself or for others – and as I try to manufacture something, the emptiness only increases.

Yet, there is a Companion who will remain with us, tears and all.  A Savior who also wept is ready to accompany each of us along the way.  Through Jesus fullness comes through the emptiness as we learn to rest on him alone and walk with others.

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Entering Rest in the Midst of Calendar Chaos

IMG_0936It’s the first week of the academic year and with it brings two welcome cookouts for UC Christian Grads, a prayer gathering, meetings with ministry partners, and continued planning. For the first time in several months I’ll be immersed in interactions with students and faculty nearly every day. I’m looking forward to each appointment on my calendar – along with the ones not scheduled. Even as I’m eager to step into this work, I’m also leery. In this chaotic mess of activity I can often lose myself and the purpose of all this activity. Then at the end of the semester I look back and wonder what happened. But that’s not the way I want to begin the year – flailing around for a solid landing place that never appears. No, I want to step out from a firm foundation.

So, before I drive across the bridge over the Ohio River into Cincinnati, I stop at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington.

Opening the solid, wooden doors I am surrounded by a quiet comfort. The firmness of the stone, the height of the vaulted ceilings, the diffused light through the stained glass, the muffled sound of the traffic, and the light scent of incense and candles invites me to rest even in the midst of work. This is a place of refuge in which my thoughts turn to God instead of my calendar.

Slowly I walk in front of the altar, across the marble floors to the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Sliding into the back pew I sit and close my eyes to rest in this space and allow it to speak to me. Opening my eyes I gaze at the jeweled-toned stained glass before me: an image of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. God met them in that place abundantly and in ways they never imagined – manna raining down, water gushing out, and God’s presence in the light and cloud surrounding the tabernacle. The desperation of the people was heard and met.

But the story told on the walls in this small chapel doesn’t end here. On the side walls murals by Frank Duveneck portray Jesus – sacrificing himself on the cross as the bread of life and breaking bread three days later with two disciples in Emmaus. In these images we see how God himself became the bread to feed us, in a fuller and more lasting way than with manna.

Sitting here I am able to focus again on the truth that Jesus is our living bread, our true source of nourishment. Since I’m prone to want to feed myself, I need to hear these words over and over. I need to stop kneading the dough of my life to death and, instead, hold out my hands to the living bread.

The readings from the past Sunday undergird these musings:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. – John 6:35

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8

I sit and feed on these words and images until it’s time to leave. Then, I take a last look around and walk through the nave noticing the banks of candles lit by previous visitors. Others who have taken refuge and encountered the bread of life in this space. I don’t know how the others left – in hope or despair.

As for me, this place as helped me remember that solid foundation that undergirds all this activity. And not just remember, but rest in the foundation of Christ. Walking out of the doors, I now see the food I’m purchasing for the cookout tonight as not one more task to finish, but part of a larger story of following Jesus and inviting others to come along.

Let the feast begin!

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Hitting the Wall and Breaking Out

IMG_2772It’s been a rough summer and several weeks ago I hit a wall. As usual I had a task list ready and knew what needed to get done to reach a set of goals. There weren’t any outside meetings to get in the way of completing the list that Thursday. Yet, I couldn’t . . . push . . . through . . .. Most of the morning I just read and re-read the list. Some internal barrier was stopping me.  I kept thinking that if I can just get through this list, then I could rest. But there was always another list.

The problem wasn’t so much in the lists, as in the thinking that I was alone responsible for accomplishing everything. Eventually the tasks had become so disparate that I didn’t see the larger vision of why I was doing them and I didn’t see the One behind it all. No wonder I hit a wall. For days on end these tasks became bricks that I thought I were adding to an expansive vision of life, when in reality I was walling myself into a solitary cell.

Gradually each task became a burden and I started living as if once I got through them I’ll then be good enough to connect with God or with others. Until then, it was just me on my own. In my mind I knew this was wrong and pictured the abundant life God promises, but my actions belied belief.

Fortunately, hitting the wall led me to see that I needed to somehow get out. Instead of thinking that I was building a life on my own, I needed to stand alongside others in its building. Nehemiah uses the phrases “Next to them” and “After” over 25 times in Nehemiah 3 to indicate a continuous line of people repairing the walls of Jerusalem, one next to / after the other. Here was a wall that was being built for a larger vision and drew people together.

And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. – Nehemiah 2:18

I needed to see that larger vision. So, I took a day off. No looking at task lists or e-mails. I slowly got ready and went for a walk then headed to the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky to pray in this space of quiet expanse. Afterwards I walked around the Cincinnati Art Museum for an hour. Not honing in on any specific work, but reveling in the beauty and craft of the paintings and sculptures. My breathing slowed and shoulders lowered. I could look and enjoy. Be inspired. Receive new breath from the work of others and from the beauty that God has created all around us. A quiet lunch and a stroll through Ault Park rounded out the afternoon.

Going home my trained mind wanted to return that list and find commendation in doing something. Maybe I would start cleaning. But I had to say no. This constant treadmill of trying to keep up with work was not life giving. I needed to think of other ways to fill time set aside for rest. Reading, writing, and organizing photos from a pilgrimage last summer took up the rest of the day. In these activities I found rest and started to again see a larger picture of the work before me, before all of us.

With a new view and breath, I am looking at these tasks differently. Not as a list to plow through, but as opportunities to serve God, one another, and enjoy life together.

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Stepping into Fundraising and Finding God’s Refuge

IMG023Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
– Psalm 61:2-3

These past months have been a real challenge as I raise financial support to serve with InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty ministry in Cincinnati. Asking people for money is not a natural gift.

However, I’m told it’s not about asking for money, it’s asking people to partner in ministry. A ministry that I and many others want to see thrive and in which I see God’s hand at work Also, in reality, I’m not the one raising support, God as always, is the ultimate provider.

While one part of my brain assents to these idea, the materially conditioned part of my brain becomes overwhelmed with the numerical goal and what it’s likely to take to reach it. So many letters, e-mails, phone calls, meetings, . . .

In this world I waiver between two extremes. First, trust God fully that the support will come. Sounds good, and it’s biblical. But, sometimes I use this as an excuse to sit back and wait – excusing myself from any role in this work. Or, second, do the work and trust myself In this mode I find myself worried about not reaching the goal and trying to figure out ways to convince people to give. It feels awful.

Slowly (painfully slowly), I’m learning to trust that God is at work in raising this support as I step out to share about the ministry. In this stepping out, I see how God is working and, more importantly, how his Word is changing me. Sometimes I fall flat on my face, sometimes I feel rejected. Other times I’m surprised at the interest people have and their faithfulness in walking in God’s ways whether they decide to offer financial support or not.

Part of the change in my life is a growing awareness of my brokenness. It’s becoming clear that I think and act as if I’m the one in control more than I ever thought. Each week I detail a task list and make plans to complete the work ahead – calls, ministry plans, visits. I don’t even feel worthy of praying until some work is completed and I can show God that I’m diligent and deserve a reward. Once I finish I can then go before God and thank him for the way he followed through on my plans. As you can see, all the emphasis is on me.

Eventually, I find myself crying out in frustration and weariness. Retuning to God with my head bent low and hands held out as a beggar. As one who cannot do this work, or any, on her own. As he then lifts me to the “rock higher than I” I am open to hearing words like Paul’s”

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. – 2 Cor 9:8

God’s grace will provide the needs for every good work – those works God prepared in advance for us (Eph 2). However, those needs may not be what I see as the needs. So all I can do is step out and embrace the sufficiency and the work that God provides.

Through these days and weeks ahead I know I’ll continue making mistakes. Even so, I pray that each step will be towards God who will lead me to His refuge instead of towards a refuge and path I design myself.

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A New Ministry Journey – Seeking the Shalom of the University

This summer I’m beginning in a new ministry focus.  Here’s a brief view into the journey on which God is leading me.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  -Jeremiah 29:4-7

IMG_3384God is doing a tremendous work on the universities in Greater Cincinnati, a work similar of that to which he calls the exiles in Babylon. While campuses are not places of exile, at least for most people, the call to seek the peace of the place where we are situated is universal.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, through its Graduate and Faculty Ministries, is helping to “build homes and plant gardens” on these campuses by walking alongside graduate students and faculty in their callings to these places, helping them along their journeys as they seek to live out the life of God’s kingdom on campus and to draw others into His peace. These are the people God is using to transform the universities.  Starting July of this year, I will be joining InterVarsity in this mission.

During the past years serving at UC, I’ve seen how God is working on campus, particularly in the lives of graduate students and faculty. As these individuals delve deeply into research across disciplines and teach undergraduates, they are having a significant impact on the university and beyond. Yet, there is also great need for them to see God’s mercy in their lives and seek opportunities to reach out with this same mercy to others. That is, to continue to seek God’s welfare in this place.

In the context of the campus, we are seeking the welfare of places where people are learning about God’s amazing creation, cultivating and sharing a love for beauty, and speaking mercy into the hurts of the world. It’s also a place where God’s shalom – true peace and welfare – is often absent. This lack of peace is seen through the isolation and alienation that many students and faculty experience, the extreme workloads that can result in stress and broken lives, or the divisive interactions among individuals and departments. Over the past months God’s words to Jeremiah have been an encouragement and model for the lives of graduate students and faculty as they yearn see God’s peace on campus.

  • Students have been remembering the ways God has been faithful over the past months and want desire to share this faithfulness with others;
  • Faculty have been praying for the campus and starting to meet for Bible study and prayer.
  • Both students and faculty have been asking what it looks like to be Christ on campus.

As I begin to work full-time with IVCF this summer, my focus is on planting and building communities of graduate students and faculties at UC and NKU – bringing together people who love God, learning, and the campus  To be able to do so, I’m also building a support team to surround this ministry in prayer and ongoing financial support in monthly increments of $25 to $200. There are also opportunities to partners by supplying meals, mentoring, and hosting events. If you would like to learn more about this work, and partnership in it, please contact me at jamie.noyd@gmail.com.  You can also check out www.intervarsity.org/gfm or Cincinnati Case Brochure PDF. Though I’ve been on campus for several years, this change is a new journey in trusting God and serving him on campus.  I’m excited to see where He takes this work.

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